How to Follow Up with MQLs for Best Results

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a prospect who is more likely to turn into a sale than other leads but isn’t quite ready to buy yet. Each company’s lead scoring is different for qualifying an MQL, but it’s typically determined by data about the lead, such as company size, company spend, role, etc. MQLs are the first step in filtering all possible visitors to a smaller group of possible buyers. 

MQLs require additional nurturing before you hit them with the hard sales pitch. They might know they have a problem but are still determining how to address it. Before you start talking pricing, you want to share additional marketing information to help build a case for your solution and introduce your company. 

Without an MQL strategy, you could completely turn off your prospects before you really get started. Here are our tips for how to follow up with MQLs for the best results. 

When should I follow up with an MQL?

When someone hits MQL status but hasn't requested that you contact them, reach out to them within 24 hours of becoming an MQL while their engagement with your content is still on their mind.

TIP: DON’T WAIT TOO LONG TO FOLLOW UP!
The effectiveness of converting an MQL to a sales opportunity drops about 15% every day that you don’t reach out.

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When an MQL requests contact or a consultation (the best-case scenario), the best practice is to reach out within 10 minutes or less. Getting in touch right away gives you a better opportunity to catch them live on the phone.

Remember, while MQLs aren’t expected to talk to you, you want to have a quality conversation with these prospects before your competitors do. If your prospect is already doing research and downloading content, then they are likely:

  • Attempting to solve a problem or overcome a challenge
  • Setting aside valuable time to solve said problem
  • Researching multiple solutions from multiple companies

How many times, and at what cadence, should I reach out?

To increase the likelihood of contact with MLQs, you should reach out via email, phone, social media or another channel at least 6 times. Each touch increases your chances of closing, but once you’ve passed 8 touches your odds remain about the same

For an inbound lead, 6–8 attempts is the industry standard but use your best judgment.

Keep in mind that 80% of MLQs take more than 4 touches to close, so be persistent and keep following up even if you don’t get a response right off the bat.

What days and times are best to reach out?

The best times to call prospects in their time zone are 8–9 am and 4–5 pm. The worst time to call is between 1–2 pm. The best days to make contact are Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

What are the best practices for sales outreach cadence?

Sales professional, SalesHacker CEO Max Altschuler, recommends the following cadence:

Day 1: Email or LinkedIn InMail

Day 3: Email in the morning

   Call in the afternoon

Day 5: Call in the morning

   Call with a voicemail in the afternoon

Day 7: Email in the morning

   Call in the afternoon with a voicemail

Day 10: Email and call in the morning

TIP: CONTACT MQLS ON MULTIPLE PLATFORMS
Don't forget to incorporate other channels into your strategy, including different social media and text messaging. They may not be active across all channels. 

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What messaging should I use during this outreach?

When you connect with your MQL, you should focus on providing value instead of overtly selling your product or service. Try the following:

  • Sending a relevant industry article or content offer
  • Referencing a mutual connection (prospects will be 5x more likely to connect with you)
  • Responding to a social media post 
  • Emailing prospects in response to company news
  • Providing a smart suggestion, like a blog idea
  • Sending a case study that shares a customer story

What are the next steps for MQLs?

Once you’ve successfully connected with an MQL, you can take the following steps to move them along in their buyer’s journey:

  • Book a meeting
  • Schedule a demo
  • Disqualify the lead

If the lead is a good fit, but the timing isn’t right, consider continuing to nurture them in order to gain additional account information.

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MQL Follow Up Best Practices